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411’s TV Renewal Predictions: Agents of SHIELD Has a Shot, But Doesn’t Have Much Breathing Room

January 29, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Agents of SHIELD Past Life

Welcome to 411’s official renewal predictions for the 2017 – 2018 television season! I’m Jeremy Thomas and after last season’s late-era run, we’re back to keep predictions going from fall going forward. The fall season is now in full launch this past week and we’re going to take a weekly look at what’s likely to get renewed as well as what you’re not very likely to see come back next year.

This is going to be a pretty short and sweet column each week. I’ll be updating my predictions every Sunday if there’s anything that warrants a move.

How It Works

The categories are pretty self-explanatory: Renewed, Likely Renewal, Bubble (could go either way), Likely Cancellation and Cancelled. It is worth mentioning that some shows will be moved into “Cancelled” status before an official announcement; networks are generally loathe to announce cancellations but there are clear signs when a show has been cancelled. These include a lack of additional episodes ordered for a first season, main cast members joining other shows or pilots and statements made by members of the cast or crew.

A show’s rating in the 18 – 49 demographic generally determines renewal, as that is the demographic that advertisers pay for (and thus determines the show’s profit margin). The 18 – 49 demo rating will be included after the show in the list. However, it’s not as simple as “X show has a higher rating than Y show, so it will be renewed.” There are certain expectations regarding a show’s timeslot; a 10 PM show can easily survive with a lower rating than a 9 PM show. Fridays tend to have lower ratings expectations and a show that is produced by the network’s production company is more likely to be renewed than one that the network has no stake in. International and streaming distributions can influence some shows to survive, but that is by no means a saving grace.

This Week’s Highlights

We’re at the end of January, which is traditionally when things start to get interesting (and speculative) in renewal predictions. January through April is what the television industry typically refers to as “pilot season,” when the networks start ordering pilots for new shows and factoring those into their decisions of what to renew or cancel. As we get more and more news on pilots like The CW’s Charmed reboot, CBS’ Malcolm P.I. and Cagney & Lacey reboots and more, industry prognosticators will be trying to analyze what these mean for the existing shows on the air.

The thing is, they don’t mean much…yet, anyway. Ordering a pilot is meaningless, because if the show doesn’t come in as the network wants then the shows won’t see the light of day. When we start hearing about series being ordered, that will be much more significant. Right now it’s a lot of noise and not much else. There are some exceptions, though. For example, ABC has given a straight-to-series order for Nathan Fillion’s latest cop dramedy, The Rookie. Also getting straight-to-series orders at ABC are the Rachel Bilson-starring PI drama Take Two and writer Kenya Barris’ still-untitled dysfunctional family comedy starring Alec Baldwin.

On the surface, this means that ABC has need of two less dramas and one less comedy. These are filling in voids that have already been left, though. Scandal and Two Days in the Valley are already gone on the drama side, while The Mayor and The Middle are sitcoms which are done. Add The Inhumans to that list as a pretty sure cancellation, and probably Once Upon a Time. That leaves Agents of SHIELD in particular as a show with a bit of a renewal shot. As we discussed last week, the show has shown (relative) strength in its Friday airing. It at least is meeting last year’s Tuesday at 10 PM ratings.

That said, it doesn’t have much if any margin of error. The series is on par with ABC’s typical Friday numbers, but it’s also an expensive show that — as all shows — is only getting more expensive as its seasons continue. It’s entirely possible that ABC could renew the show for a final, shortened season. It could also go ahead with a full season to continue promoting its sister brand in Marvel, or just decide to cut bait. SHIELD’s best shot is holding onto its audience and hoping that the midseason shows fail. There’s a heavy spate of ABC shows coming in March, and most of them are dramas. If they all fall short — a distinct possibility — SHIELD will be resting easier. Until we see those numbers, it’ll remain hard to say whether the show returns.

Fox has been having a fairly strong midseason to date, with big jumps on its Sunday lineup and an full-on hit in the already-renewed 9-1-1. Those make the problematic launch of The Resident stand out all the more. The show seemingly got off to a great start last Sunday with a 2.61 premiere, but that aired immediatlety after the NFC Championship game. What’s more, the 2.61 was down almost a full point from last year’s post-Conference champion game launch of reality show The Hunted on CBS. Things got even worse on Monday, when the show shed an ugly (if somewhat understandable) 62% of its premiere to a 1.0. Right now the show is high among FOX rankings, but that boosted premiere makes a difference and FOX will view that in context. The show is likely to fall at least a little further and if that does happen, the show will go from Too Early to Call right into Likely Canceled status.

On the bright side for FOX is Lethal Weapon, which is looking stable after heavy losses from last year early in the season. At this point, the series is actually ranking above FOX’s heavily-hyped X-Files return on a week-to-week basis. Lethal Weapon is on the upward edge of the Bubble and could easily make a case for renewal, especially if The Resident continues falling off.

CBS’ strong January also continued, and without the downside of a failed midseason launch thus far. The network’s Friday night lineup remains quite strong, with Hawaii Five-0 now ranking near the top half of the Eye’s shows in terms of the demo rating. That’s helped MacGyver and Blue Bloods, both of which have shown some 2018 strength. CBS has some problems — notably, SWAT — but right now, most everything is going swimmingly for them.

The biggest news on The CW was Black Lightning’s season week. The DC series saw an expected fall from last week, dropping from a 0.77 to a 0.6. That’s still not a concern, and as I said last week even a moderately big drop won’t hurt its renewal chances. Everything is looking rosey for the net’s superhero shoes right now, while the rest of the shows remain in a holding pattern. The CW is usually the first to announce renewals, and I would not be shocked to see renewal decisions announced in the next week or two for most of their shows.

And then there’s NBC. Honestly, there isn’t much to report here. The Brave is still as close to functionally canceled as you can get, with no back nine set of episodes ordered but the fact that a thirteen episode was likely regardless preventing its being set as “Canceled” already. Great News is hanging in the 0.5 to 0.6 range that it has stayed all month which is not particularly renewable on Fridays, much less on Thursdays at 9:30 PM after Will & Grace. The network’s renewals and cancellations are pretty obvious right now, unless something big changes.

ABC

Renewed:
* Modern Family (1.73)
* The Goldbergs (1.54)

Likely Renewal:
* Grey’s Anatomy (2.09)
* The Good Doctor (1.85)
* American Housewife (1.30)
* Speechless (1.16)
* Black-ish (1.12)
* Fresh Off the Boat (1.06)

Bubble:
* How to Get Away with Murder (0.94)
* Designated Survivor (0.81)
* Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (0.71)
* Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (0.60)

Likely Cancellation:
* Marvel’s Inhumans (0.61)
* Once Upon a Time (0.55)

Cancelled:
* The Middle (1.36) – Final season previously announced
* Scandal (1.19) – Final season previously announced
* The Mayor (0.82)
* Ten Days in the Valley (0.35)

Too Early to Call:
* Alex, Inc. (Premieres March 28th)
* The Crossing (Premieres April 2nd)
* Deception (Premieres March 11th)
* For The People (Premieres March 13th)
* Grey’s Anatomy Spinoff (Premieres March 29th)
* Quantico (Premieres April 26th)
* Roseanne (Premieres March 27th)
* Splitting Up Together (Premieres March 27th)

CBS

Renewed:
* Big Bang Theory (2.92)
* Young Sheldon (2.37)

Likely Renewal:
* Mom (1.50)
* NCIS (1.45)
* Kevin Can Wait (1.30)
* Bull (1.21)
* Life in Pieces (1.17)
* Seal Team (1.09)
* Man With a Plan (1.06)
* Criminal Minds (1.02)
* Hawaii Five-0 (1.02)
* NCIS: New Orleans (1.00)
* NCIS: Los Angeles (0.96)
* Blue Bloods (0.95)
* Code Black (Premieres April 25th)

Bubble:
* SWAT (1.03)
* Superior Donuts (0.94)
* MacGyver (0.86)
* Scorpion (0.83)

Likely Cancellation:
* 9JKL (0.98)
* Madam Secretary (0.67)

Cancelled:
* Me, Myself & I (1.00)
* Wisdom of the Crowd (0.94)

Too Early to Call:
* Elementary (Premieres April 23rd)

NBC

Renewed:
* This Is Us (2.75)
* Will & Grace (1.75)
* The Good Place (1.14)

Likely Renewal:
* Chicago Med (1.31)
* Law & Order: SVU (1.30)
* Chicago PD (1.20)
* Superstore (1.13)
* Chicago Fire (1.12)
* The Blacklist (0.97)
* Blindspot (0.67)
* Shades of Blue (Premieres Midseason)

Bubble:
None

Likely Cancellation:
* Law & Order True Crime (1.05)
* The Brave (0.94)
* Great News (0.73)
* Taken (0.5)

Cancelled:
None

Too Early to Call:
None

FOX

Renewed:
* The Simpsons (1.89)
* 9-1-1 (1.70)
* The Orville (1.25)
* The Gifted (1.00)

Likely Renewal:
* Empire (1.92)
* Bob’s Burgers (1.38)
* Star (1.35)
* Family Guy (1.29)
* Lucifer (0.89)
* The Mick (0.78)

Bubble:
* Ghosted (1.17)
* The X-Files (1.12)
* Lethal Weapon (1.04)
* The Last Man on Earth (0.90)
* Gotham (0.87)

Likely Cancellation:
* L.A. to Vegas (0.91)
* Brooklyn Nine-Nine (0.66)
* The Exorcist (0.41)

Cancelled:
* New Girl (Final season previously announced, premieres April 10th)

Too Early to Call:
* The Resident (1.81)

The CW

Renewed:

Likely Renewal:
* The Flash (0.88)
* Black Lightning (0.69)
* Supernatural (0.60)
* Riverdale (0.56)
* Supergirl (0.55)
* Legends of Tomorrow (0.55)
* Arrow (0.50)
* Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (0.22)

Bubble:
* Jane the Virgin (0.24)

Likely Cancellation:
* Dynasty (0.21)

Cancelled:
* Valor (0.21)
* The Originals (Final season previously announced, premieres April 20th)

Too Early to Call:
* The 100 (Premieres April 24th)
* iZombie (Premieres February 26th)
* Life Sentence (Premieres March 7th)

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